Saturday, January 5, 2008

Queen of the Wharf

Gilda Stagnaro died 90 feet from her restaurant door in a driving wind and heavy rain yesterday. The 83 year old matriarch of the Santa Cruz Wharf ran Gilda's for the last 35 years.

My son Aaron worked for her while he was a student at UCSC. Gilda who never married and had no kids "adopted" Aaron and treated him like a son.

I remember driving him once to her "compound" not far from the wharf so he could pick up his paycheck. She invited him in while I waited in the car. I'm sure she offered him tea. That's the kind of person Aaron said she was. Very "mom-like". (comments, Aaron?)


AMGallegos said...

You're right, Gilda took me a lot of people under her wing...aimless UCSC students busing tables with PhDs, a 70-something Turkish refugee who washed dishes, career waitresses who were actually broken-hearted women underneath their surly personalities, and an alcoholic despot chef who needed more of Gilda's care than anybody. The newspaper called her "Queen of the Wharf," but I think she was more humble than that...more like a Wharf Mother Superior.

CJGallegos said...

Wow! Thanks, Aaron. What a woman, huh?